A person who appears to be ambling aimlessly, but is secretly in search of adventure.


Investing In Creativity

Thanks James Alefantis, collector and restaurateur extraordinaire, for sending me this link to a piece entitled: "Why Artists need More Than Creativity to Survive".

This research identifies the critical contribution that artists make to our society and economic the difficulty of being an artist.
Throughout our history, artists in the U.S. have utilized their skills as a vehicle to illuminate the human condition, contribute to the vitality of their communities and to the broader aesthetic landscape, as well as to promote social change and democratic dialogue. Artists have also helped us interpret our past, define the present, and imagine the future. In spite of these significant contributions, there's been an inadequate set of support structures to help artists, especially younger, more marginal or controversial ones, to realize their best work. Many artists have struggled and continue to struggle to make ends meet. They often lack adequate resources for health care coverage, housing, and for space to make their work. Still, public as well as private funding for artists has been an uneven, often limited source of support even in the best of times economically.
The research then suggests ways to improve the situation.
...improving support structures for artists in the U.S. will not be accomplished simply by restoring budget cuts, though we will certainly need to rebuild these kinds of direct financial support going forward. Making a real difference in the creative life of artists will entail developing a new understanding and appreciation for who artists are and what they do, as well as financial resources from a variety of stakeholders. Achieving these changes involves a long-term commitment from artists themselves, as well as arts administrators, funders, governments at various levels, community developers and real estate moguls, not to mention the business and civic sectors (emphasis added).
It's simply not enough to rely on government grants. Supporting a creative community requires participation by many stakeholders, including art collectors! I've said it before and I'll say it again, though buying paintings is an important way collectors can support artists, there are many other ways that collectors can participate in developing a thriving art community. And it doesn't take lots of dough to move beyond a passive role, just a little creative thinking.



Sweet Jesus.

(Bless you TG.)

Becks thrills

Nice abs.

Good art

One thing that seems to prevent some from becoming art collectors is a lack of confidence in their own ability to identify "good" art. Prompted by a dispute over whether the above Warhol painting is really a Warhol if it was created by a former studio assistant without Warhol's oversight, blogger-dealer Ed Winkleman ponders this topic. In the context of whether this painting is worth $3,000,000, we believe Warhol is a good artist who made good art. This painting was made by someone who was trained by Warhol in a manner that is indistinguishable from a real Warhol. Ergo, this painting is good art. I don't know if that is true, but it spurs a good conversation about how we decide what is good art. Be sure to read the comments on Winkleman's post; I particularly liked this quotation that someone posted about Sol LeWitt's work:
“He also liked the inherent impermanence of Conceptual art, maybe because it dovetailed with his lack of pretense: having started to make wall drawings for exhibitions in the 1960s, he embraced the fact that these could be painted over after the shows. (Walls, unlike canvases or pieces of paper, kept the drawings two-dimensional, he also thought.) He wasn’t making precious one-of-a-kind objects for posterity, he said. Objects are perishable. But ideas need not be. ”
For me, good art is not about the object, though I like and collect objects, rather good art is defined by the good idea behind it. I like to collect good ideas.


Graf on 5th Avenue

(Photo: David Gonzalez/The New York Times)

The Lord & Taylor department store has commissioned the South Bronx crew to create a graffiti installation for its store windows on 5th Avenue in NYC. See here for the whole story.

All my friends at Recognize

I love DC Mag's coverage of the Recognize opening at the Portrait Gallery a few months ago because all my friends got to be in the pictures! Good to see different faces showing up on the pages of Scene In DC.


Henry Thaggert interviews Nekisha Durrett

Nekisha is fourth from left, Henry is third from right, Jeffry is dead center.
(c) Tony Powell

In May 2008, Henry Thaggert, a great DC art collector and a co-curator (with Jeffry Cudlin) of the exhibition She's So Articulate at the Arlington Arts Center, spoke to Nekisha Durrett about the meaning behind her work; about how an African American artist came to make Japanese inspired drawings, and about whether she is a Diva. Read this fascinating interview here.

“She’s So Articulate: Black Women Artists Reclaim the Narrative” is a new exhibition at the Arlington Arts Center in Arlington, Virginia, that examines storytelling techniques in art made by black female artists. The show explores the art world’s longstanding, sometimes dismissive, assumptions about African American narrative art, black female artists’ connections to shared culture and history, and the ways in which those connections get articulated in recent contemporary fine art. The exhibition, which runs through July 2008, draws context from the art world’s fascination with Kara Walker, a MacArthur Foundation “Genius” grant winner who recently had a mid-career retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Walker, an African-American artist, creates larger-than-life cutout caricatures of antebellum slaves and their white masters. Her narratives reference testimonial slave accounts, historical novels and minstrel shows.

“She’s So Articulate” attempts to expand the discussion beyond Walker’s concerns about the traumatic impact of slavery on its victims and survivors. For example one of the artists, Nekisha Durettt, tells a cryptic fairy tale using a multi-paneled installation that seems to be a hybrid of Japanese manga-styling and Kara Walker’s room-sized antebellum scenes.


Old news is still good news

Took me awhile to get this scanned and posted, but here's an article about Wreckfest@Tiffany's that appeared in the Arlington Connection back in April. The author Greg Wyshynski quotes Arlington Arts Center Exhibits Director Jeffry Cudlin about the show:

No, graffiti in a gallery isn't groundbreaking or edgy and hasn't been for decades. But Philippa's stated goal isn't to shock; it's to make visual art accessible to audiences that it might not traditionally reach.

Exactly. I'd say we succeeded given the numbers of people who showed up at the closing party and given the amount of art we sold that night to both first-time art buyers and experienced collectors who'd never purchased graffiti art before.

Girlish Ways on Saturday

An extra reminder to go see Girlish Ways on Saturday night! Opens at 7 pm @ the Bobby Fisher Memorial Building, 1644 North Capitol Street, NW.

"It is difficult to be a woman and be likeable."

I was just talking to Leila Holtsman about how much we admired Louise Bourgeois and then discovered that a movie about her life opened yesterday in NYC. Might have to make a special trip to see it.

From the New York Times:

The uncommonly elegant and evocative portrait “Louise Bourgeois: The Spider, the Mistress and the Tangerine” reveals much about this haunting and haunted master while leaving intact what Georges Braque once wrote was the only thing that mattered in art: the thing you cannot explain.


You don't have to be a Rockefeller...

You don't have to be a Rockefeller to collect art.
He was a postal clerk. She was a librarian.
With their modest means, the couple managed to build one of the most important contemporary art collections in history.

Meet Herbert and Dorothy Vogel, whose shared passion and commitment defied stereotypes and redefined what it means to be an art collector.
Your assignment: see this movie and find out that just about anyone can become an important art collector.
"In the early 1960s, when very little attention was paid to Minimalist and Conceptual Art, Herb and Dorothy quietly began purchasing the works of unknown artists. Devoting all of Herb's salary to buy art, and living on Dorothy's paycheck alone, they continued collecting artworks guided by two rules: the piece had to be affordable, and small enough to fit in their one-bedroom Manhattan apartment. Within these limitations, they proved themselves curatorial visionaries; most of those they supported and befriended went on to become world-renowned artists. Their circle includes: Sol LeWitt, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Richard Tuttle, Chuck Close, Robert and Sylvia Mangold, Lynda Benglis, Pat Steir, Robert Barry, Lucio Pozzi and Lawrence Weiner.

"Thirty years on, the Vogels had managed to accumulate over 4,000 pieces, filling every corner of their living space from the bathroom to the kitchen. "Not even a toothpick could be squeezed into the apartment," recalls Dorothy. Their apartment was near collapse, holding way over its limit - something had to be done.

"In 1992, the Vogels made headlines that shocked the art world: their entire collection was moved to the National Gallery of Art, the vast majority of it as an outright gift to the institution. Many of the works they acquired at modest prices appreciated so significantly that their collection became worth several million dollars, yet the Vogels never sold a single piece to breakdown the collection.

"Herb and Dorothy still live in the same apartment today- with 19 turtles, lots of fish, one cat -once completely emptied, now refilled again with piles of artworks.

"The Vogels' discerning taste and magnanimity changed the face of contemporary art collecting. In 2007, James Stourton, the chairman of Sotheby's UK, included the Vogels in his acclaimed book, Great Collectors of Our Time: Art Collecting Since 1945. Stourton placed Herb and Dorothy among the top art collectors in the world, alongside Getty, Rockefeller and Mellon.

"While there are countless films that feature artists, there are few about art collectors. Herb and Dorothy provides a unique chronicle of the world of contemporary art from two unlikely collectors, whose shared passion and discipline defies stereotypes and redefines what it means to be a patron of the arts..."


Creative genius happy hour

Creative Genius Networking Happy Hour
Calling all writers, poets, artists, dancers, musicians, and other creative geniuses! Join us for drinks and casual networking.

Thursday, June 26

6:30 - 8 pm
@ Aroma
3417 Connecticut Ave, NW
(near the Cleveland Park metro)

Arty stuff this week . . .

Screams & Screens
Curated by Panache and "Process & Alchemy: New Directions & Alternative Processes in Screen-printing, Work from the Hand Print Workshop International."
June 27 - July 26

Opening reception:
Friday, June 27
7 - 9 pm
@ Civilian Art Projects
406 7th Street, NW

Crafty Bastards in Silver Spring
Saturday, June 28
10 am - 5 pm
@ Pyramid Atlantic Art Center
8230 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD

Gina Brocker
June 28 - July 26

Opening reception:
Saturday, June 28
6 - 8 PM

Book signing and meet the artist: 3 - 4 PM
Artist’s talk and discussion: 5 - 6 PM

@ Irvine Contemporary
1412 14th Street, NW

E5: Rangefinder
July 2 - August 2

Kristina Bilonick
Michael Matason
Jillian Pichocki
Bryan Whitson

Artist talk:
Saturday, June 28
4 pm

Opening reception:
Saturday, June 28
5 - 7 pm
@ Transformer
1404 P Street, NW

Kenro Izu, “Bhutan: The Sacred Within”, recent photographs of the people and landscape of the last Himalayan kingdom.
June 28 - August 1

Opening reception:
Saturday, June 28
5 - 7 pm
@ Addison/Ripley Fine Art
1670 Wisconsin Avenue, NW

Girlish Ways
Curated by Rachel Fick and Marissa Botelho

Opening Reception:
Saturday, June 28
7 - 10 pm
@ Bobby Fisher Memorial House
1644 North Capitol Street NW


Pics from Hirshhorn After Hours

Dakota Fine has taken some faboo pictures AGAIN for Brightest Young Things. This time, he covers Hirshhorn After Hours.

Art in Berlin

A piece about Berlin in the New York Times Travel Section yesterday as an art destination. I spent several days there last summer and fell in love with this beautiful city. Art of every kind pervades every part of the city. I was especially smitten with a private museum housed in a former wartime bunker. The guy who owned the place and the collection lives in a fab penthouse on top of the building.


Stennett and Cotton

One of my fave artists Adam Stennett in conversation with another awesome artist Will Cotton in the June 2008 issue of Whitehot Magazine. Adam says:
[A]rt-making is simply setting up a problem and finding a solution. Some problems are more compelling and some solutions are more effective.


DC Mag is fun

Nice mentions in DC Magazine this month:
Forget the art--the serious bites of eye candy are the artists themselves, along with the the posh spots where thay hang. It's hard to miss eclectic hotshots like Kathryn Cornelius, Kelly Towles, Jason Wright, Lisa Marie Thalhammer and Tim Conlon, but you have to be in the right place. Head to the super-cool studio space at 52 O Street, the chic Civilian Art Projects, posh pizzeria Comet Ping Pong, the ever-hip Hirshhorn Afterhours, or practically anything hosted by Philippa Hughes's Pink Line Project, Brightest Young Things or the hottest thing on H Street, Dissident Display, to get a glimpse at how this stylish set rolls.

Art Opening For Jason Horowitz
The Party: DC's artsy insiders headed over to the home of Andrea Evers and Brian Aitken to view Jason Horowitz's latest work. The Players: James Alefantis, Maria Hutcheson, Veronica Jaskcon, Philippa Hughes and Andrea Pollan checked out the artist's fine, albeit fleshy, photos. Best In Show: Guests enjoyed a cool talk given by art guru Henry Thaggert. --Tiffany Jow.

Review of Henry's show!

Nice review in the Washington Post today of She's So Articulate at Arlington Arts Center. Guest curator Henry Thaggert writes about this exhibit:
[Kara] Walker "owns the black narrative," and his exhibition marks "an attempt to reclaim the narrative" from her.
Jessica Dawson responds:
Indeed, the sum of "She's So Articulate" complicates -- in a interesting way -- a post-Kara Walker art world. And if a black woman artist wields enough influence to spawn a show, then I'd call that a victory.
Kudos to Jeffry Cudlin at the AAC for co-curating such a great show.

Hirshhorn dinner in the garden

Philippa et Philippe!

The Hirshhorn hosted a wonderful dinner in the garden to celebrate the Isaac Julien lecture last night. The ole Hirsh has really been kicking it up a notch lately and is attracting some super fabulous and interesting people into its circle. Tonight: After Hours!

My best frenemy* Xavier Equihua and his posse: Philippe Lanier, Sarah Heideman, Amy Zimmerman, and Charles Lancaster.

*When I say frenemy in this case, I mean that I think this guy rocks! So cool!

AM Radio

Amanda Hess over at the City Paper wrote a nice piece about my buddies at AM Radio. They've figured out how to make great art that can also act as social commentary with the support of corporate sponsors.


Cool rainbow

Did anyone catch the rainbows yesterday evening? Wow.
This image taken by sssdc.

Public museums showing private collections?

Cheech Marin (yes, THAT Cheech) has been collecting Chicano art for years. In a personal crusade to integrate Chicano artists into the maistream contemporary art world, he assembled an exhibition from his collection and has been displaying it around the country for seven years. After much wrangling, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art has finally agreed to exhibit the works. They refused initicially because they did not want to show individual collections.

In related news, the Art Newspaper reports that the Leipzig's Gallery of Contemporary Art, which receives a great deal of public funding, will host, but not curate, a series of exhibitions featuring individual collections. This decision has come under great fire.
The museum’s director, Barbara Steiner, defends the initiative, describing it as an “open experiment in the way that public and private resources can be used together”.

. . .

There are fears that it blurs the boundaries between public and commercial interests. Ms Steiner disagrees, saying the project is shedding light on an issue which needs discussing in Germany—that private museums are “manoeuvring public institutions out of the limelight”.

Dr Dercon, the director of the Haus der Kunst in Munich, says: “You can raise questions about public and private museums, but what we need to discuss is the usurping of intellectual power by the commercial world.” Dr Dercon criticised some contemporary collectors, saying many viewed art collections as “luxury goods”. He adds: “We all deal, with private collectors and many, especially old master collectors, have been generous with loans, gifts and sharing scholarship, much more so, in fact, than many contemporary art collectors.”

He criticised the Leipzig initiative, saying “it may be intelligent [politically] but it is not intellectual and if we are trying to find a way to work with the private sector, this is not it. It is partly an issue of public responsibility and partly an issue of transparency. One of the biggest problems in the art world is that the same people can be critics, curators, dealers, crypto-collectors, even museum directors. I don’t think this is going to shed much light on what is an opaque situation.”

I fully support individuals showing their collections to the public. Besides curiosity about what other people collect, I think it's a bad idea to squirrel away behind closed doors great art that has the potential to effect change in the world. Plus, I think collectors have an influential role to play in the art world that should be made more public. But that role may need to be better defined.

The mission of a public insitution is going to be different from that of an individual, therefore, individual collectors should find creative ways to show their collections and promote their goals by using private funds, in private settings. Cheech Marin's intentions have great merit and I applaud him for his single-minded focus on promoting Chicano art. But maybe he should direct his efforts at helping LACMA mount a Chicano art show that is curated and scholarly instead of a mere exhibition of his own collection, which I understand is not the best representation of Chicano art anyway and may actually diminish the importance of this these artists in the history of contemporary art.


Better than therapy!

More reasons in USA Today why roller derby is awesome!

"I'm actually very sweet and girly off the track but utterly relentless on the track — a bit of a bruiser, really," Cross says. "Jammers are pretty scared of me. But that's half the fun of derby: You get to be someone else. It's better than therapy."

Social networks' impact on the art scene

More from Cooltown Studios about how social networks influence the art scene:
In the previous entry we looked at Elizabeth Currid's The Economics of a Good Party and the process by which arts and culture added to the economy. Today, we look at Elizabeth's answer to the question, "How does the social community (ie the patrons, the attendees, the participants) influence the emergence of arts and culture that then translates to economic impact?" Her four ways:

1. Access to gatekeepers both formally and informally - Gatekeepers are defined as the purveyors of taste, so if you're friends with them, you're directly influencing the source.
2. Interaction across art/culture sectors - A bit related to branding as well as the experience economy, music for instance, becomes more appealing when it's associated with inspired venues and events.
3. Establishment of "weak ties" - This speaks to the power of community, where just being associated within a certain scene long enough will eventually bring you to the relationships you'll need, via 'weak ties', to the 'strong ties' that invest in your idea.
4. Distinction and emergence of taste, genre and subculture - See Yelp!, where visitors to the site don't check out the critics' reviews, they peruse their peers. This is word of mouth in one of its most efficient and effective forms.

Video from Art-O-Sound

Nifty video of David London's video installation, Imagine, at Art-O-Sound last week.


Arty stuff this week . . .

Hemphill Fine Arts features work by:
David Byrne

Colby Caldwell

William Christenberry

Steven Cushner
Jason Gubbiotti

Max Hirshfeld

Franz Jantzen

Robin Rose

Sharon Sanderson


Wednesday, June 18

6 - 8:30 pm

@ Lofts 11 Penthouse

1125 11th Street, NW

Neermala Luckeenaran Mauritus, "The Sorrows of Women"

Project 3: Empowered By Artistry
June 14 - August 30


Wednesday, June 18

6:30 - 8:30 pm

@ Sewall-Belmont House & Museum
144 Constitution Ave., NE
(next to the Hart Senate Office Building)

Please RSVP, in the positive only, to rsvp@sewallbelmont.org.

Poetic Voices From the Harlem Renaissance to Today
Readings: E. Ethelbert Miller and Hari Jones

Discussion following led by: Fred Joiner

Thursday, June 19

7:30 pm

@ Phillips Collection

21st at Q Street

Once Again, Again: Rhythm and Repetition
Juried by Annie Gawlak, Director of G Fine Art
June 19 - July 26

Jessie Lehson
Kyan Bishop
Mary Early
Suzi Fox
Pat Goslee
Jose Varela
Linn Meyers
Kay Hwang
Ryan Hill
J.T. Kirkland
Jay Lee
Joey Manlapaz
Cory Oberndorfer
Thom Sawyer
Linda Hesh

Reception and Gallery Talk:
Thursday, June 19
7 – 9 pm
@ McLean Project For the Arts
1234 Ingleside Drive
McLean, VA

Personal Perspectives and A Twist on the Ordinary
Thursday, June 19
5:30 - 9 pm
@ Howard County Arts Council
8510 High Ridge Road
Ellicott City, MD

The Cinema Effect, Part II: Realities Illusion, Reality, and the Moving Image
Meet the Artist: Isaac Julien

Thursday, June 19

7 pm

@ Hirshhorn
Ring Auditorium

Richard Edson
Beyond the Valley of the Micro Bops

Curated by Annie Adchavanich

June 19 - June 29


Thursday, June 19

8 - 11 pm
@ Backroom Gallery at Jackie's

8081 Georgia Avenue
Silver Spring, MD

Hirshhorn After Hours
Friday, June 20
8 pm - midnight
$10 for members - $12 for nonmembers
Buy tickets here.

Hillyer Open Mic Event
Friday, June 20
6 - 9 pm
@ Hillyer Art Space
9 Hillyer Court (behind the Phillips)

Ken Matsuzaki
Artist talk:
Friday, June 20
7 - 9 pm
@ The Art League
105 North Union Street
Alexandria, VA

Every Friday
Free before 10 pm
@ Gallery
Silver Spring, MD

Thierry Guillemin
Ebbs and Flows
June 18 - July 12

Artists Reception:

Friday, June 20

6 - 8 pm

@ Studio Gallery

2108 R Street, NW

Amuata Marston-Firmino
Friday, June 20
6 - 8 PM
@ Artspace
614 S Street, NW

Richard Vosseller
Failure Is An Option
June 11 - July 11

Saturday, June 21
5:30 - 7:30 pm
@ Black Rock Center For the Arts
12901 Town Commons Drive
Germantown, MD

Saturday, June 21
6 pm - 3 am

@ Bebar 1318
9th Street, NW

Ripple Effecting Oceans
Erik Abel and DC Surfrider Celebrate International Surfing Day

Saturday, June 21
noon to midnight
@ Art Whino
173 Waterfront Street
National Harbor